Devils vs. Flyers: 3 Reasons Why Game 5 Will Be the Toughest for New Jersey
After losing Game 1 in overtime, the Devils have simply taken a stranglehold on the series, winning the next three games and controlling the style of play completely.
However, everyone knows the old playoff mantra, "The last win is always the toughest." Here are three reasons why the Devils' fourth victory of this series is destined to be their most hard fought.
Philadelphia's "Us vs. the World" Attitude
On Monday, Philadelphia star forward and 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs points leader Claude Giroux was suspended for Game 5 for his hit to the head of New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
While many see the suspension as Philadelphia's Game 5 death certificate, it is possible that Flyers coach Peter Laviolette swings it a different way to motivate his troops.
Philadelphia is now expected to lose Game 5 and the series, as it's facing a 3-1 deficit. This puts pressure on the Devils to close out the series tonight and not give the desperate Flyers any hope.
Look for Philadelphia to come out with extreme energy and motivation as it tries to begin its uphill battle against the odds.
The Philadelphia Crowd
The Philadelphia Flyers are known for having some of hockey's most irritably passionate fans.
The city of Philadelphia has not been able to call the Stanley Cup its own since 1975, and tacking on another year to the 37 seasons of frustration will be nearly unbearable for some.
Look for the crowd element to work in favor of both teams depending on the situation in the game. If Philly can control some of the momentum early, then Flyers fans will have something to cheer about.
If not, and the Devils are able to hop out to a sizable lead and control the speed of the game, then you may see a sea of orange flowing toward the exits midway through the third period.
The Play of Bryzgalov
In Game 4, Ilya Bryzgalov single-handedly prevented the Flyers from being run out of the building.
New Jersey threw 43 shots at the Russian netminder, and he stopped all but four.
However, Bryzgalov's inconsistent play is what baffles many fans and experts alike. Sometimes, it is 50-50 on which goalie will show up.
I'm going to take my chances and say that the stellar performer comes to play in Game 5.
Look for the Russian liquor connoisseur/philosopher/master of the universe/netminder to do all he can to avoid elimination on Tuesday night.